TWO PARENTS WEIGH IN ON THE PROPOSALS TO MOVE PS 452

ps-452
PS 452 now shares the William O’Shea building on 77th Street with the Computer School and the Anderson School, a gifted and talented school.

Under one of the three current city proposals to rezone Upper West Side elementary schools, PS 452 on West 77th Street would be moved to another building, the school that now houses PS 191 on 61st Street and Amsterdam Avenue. Another proposal from the CEC3, the UWS school board, would also move PS 452.

Two parents — one a current PS 452 parent and one a former 452 parent — reached out to us independently to share their thoughts. We’ve printed them below.

I Support the Move

By Hilda Blair (parent to a third grader)

I support CEC3’s October 18th comprehensive rezoning plan, particularly PS 452’s relocation. PS 452’s move is in the best interest of current families, newly zoned families, the community-at-large, and PS 452 itself. Our leadership and faculty, as well as a significant portion of PS 452 families support relocation.

PS 452 needs room to grow. A dedicated building offers immense opportunities. My older child attended elementary school in a dedicated building where extra help and special services didn’t happen in a hallway. There were no logistical shared space issues, morning lunches, or gym classes with 60 children. An art cart didn’t replace the art room.

PS 452 and all NYC schools need more diversity. The re-site provides PS 452 a more balanced in-zone student body. Diversity is demonstrably better for every child’s education and success.

If PS 452 remains in its current location resulting in a shrunken zone puts it at significant fiscal risk and staff losses. We are currently under enrolled with a nearly $100,000 deficit. Relocation provides PS 452 the resources required to maintain its amazing programs and increase offerings to more children.

The increased distance for current families is a real concern, but short-term issue. School buses mitigate the commute, but even without buses distance shouldn’t trump what’s best for the school, its students and newly zoned children.

Concerned families should be thrilled to have access to PS 452 – a strong, proven school with outstanding faculty – and need not worry about a new, unproven school with unidentified leadership.

This is a difficult process, but I believe everyone wants what’s best for our children. Listen to PS 452’s leaders and educators and the numerous current families that support moving PS 452. I hope the DOE and community embraces a more diverse student body and supports the long-term best interests of our school, community, and all children, not the personal preferences of a subset of current PS452 families.


ps-452-2

I Oppose the Move

By David Gorvitz

Dear Members of the District 3 CEC and Officials of the New York City DOE:

Your determination to relocate P.S. 452 16 blocks away from its current families, which has been as unrelenting as the rationale for it from an educational and student well-being perspective has been thin, is already creating statistics. On the second day of the academic year, we received an opportunity to move our daughter, now a kindergartner, from P.S. 452 to a different school, and we jumped on it.  I know of several families who have done the same. Other families had elected to avoid P.S. 452 even earlier, in May, when news of the plan had just trickled out.

For us, this was a sad decision. We had moved to where we live specifically for the school. We were excited to have our children attend class with so many friends from their preschool and had looked forward to being part of the same school community with the other parents from our building. We believed, based on overwhelming evidence, that walking to school was a big health and social benefit to our kids’ health. But the prospect of seeing our kids uprooted and trapped by the system in a school almost 20 blocks away, against our protests and the protests of the parents of nearly every student in her cohort, was unacceptable.

ps 191
The current home of PS 191 on 61st Street. PS 452 could move into this building.

You have heard all this before. You have heard hundreds of parents repeat ad nauseum how much they value the role of P.S. 452 as a neighborhood school. Some of you might even have begun to suspect they mean it. People will put up with all kinds of less-than-perfect conditions when the goal makes it worthwhile. Thus, P.S. 452 families have put up with the inconveniences posed by the school’s co-location, such as lunch starting at 10 a.m. (Incidentally, lunch at our daughter’s new, non-co-located school in D3 also starts at that time). P.S. 452 parents have raised very significant funds to make up for DOE funding gaps and would have raised more if called upon. They have also volunteered their time, a commitment made possible for many only by the school’s proximity to home. (I volunteered even before my daughter had set foot in the school, which is 5 blocks away from our home).

It is true that, in the same vein, some parents who love our neighborhood have still had their kids commute to other schools that they felt were better suited for them. But parents will not have their kids commute to a worse school, not if they can help it. They will not open their wallets as readily, if at all, to help a school their kids were forced to attend over their vehement objections. And, for the same reasons, they will not go 20 blocks out of their way to volunteer. They will devote their energies to getting out. Based on P.S. 191’s measurable performance, the “new” P.S. 452 (no matter the exact percentages of the blend of students from the 452, 199, and 191 zones) will be worse than the current one. You have not seriously attempted to convince parents otherwise, and the supposed countervailing benefits of the move are widely derided as contrived or largely irrelevant to children’s education and well-being.

Of course, no clear-eyed person will believe that this re-siting exercise is aimed at benefiting the current P.S. 452 students. It is supposed to be for the greater good (and, for good measure, some good headlines, too). My aim in writing this letter is not to argue the morality of this utilitarian, nakedly political approach but to point out that, like Lewis Carroll’s “jam tomorrow,” the greater good will never come to pass. As dedicated as many of you are to this enterprise, I know that you cannot but see our decision to abandon the school as a bad portent. Your plans for a “diverse” P.S. 452 hinge on most current families deciding to stick with the school after it moves. If this does not happen, there will be little preventing the school from becoming another P.S. 191, which sits in a zone with many gleaming towers but has attracted almost none of their denizens (and thus boasts over 80% poverty concentration inside the school although school-lunch eligibility among families in the zone is only 50%). There will be little to prevent the zones surrounding the current P.S. 452 zone from becoming egregiously overcrowded again, as more families position their children to be zoned for the remaining high-performing schools in the District. In my very first public comment on this subject over the summer, I warned that Upper West Side parents, who are very resourceful and many of whom have some means, would react drastically to a drastic change you would not accomplish what you were setting out to achieve. Now, it’s happening, and the trend will only accelerate.

Because parents will continue to vote with their feet, your drastic change will come to naught, and you will be back here in five years, renaming another failed school, except this time it will be a school that was once successful. It is not too late to try something different, something more incremental (either Scenario A or Scenario C, while far from perfect, come closer to fitting the bill) to avoid this outcome. No one I know aspires to be Sisyphus. I am guessing neither do you.

Photos by Hilda Blair.

If you choose to comment, please keep it civil.

COLUMNS, SCHOOLS | 92 comments | permalink
    1. Foo says:

      David, have you actually studied the demographics of the proposed new zone for ps 452? It will only have about 1/3 of the Amsterdam Houses, that is approximately 10-15 kids a year. Sibling rights for Amsterdam Houses primarily will be at ps 191. So if no one else wants to attend a relocated ps 452, it will be a very empty school. I don’t think that will happen, I suspect that many people in ps 452’s new. catchment zone will find it very attractive. In terms of the new further distance, the UWS has unusually compact catchment zones, there are other parts of the city where the catchment zones extend 30 blocks from the school. I also suspect that most of the current families zoned for 452 will now be zoned for ps 87 or 199, which will be taking the former 452 zone; those families are likely to figure out a way to transfer their children to 87 or 199, their new zone. There really are no good arguements for opposing moving 452. Yes it will be a tad less convienant for some people. That is hardly a good reason. Try moving to the suburbs, where you may live miles from your children’s elementary school and where they change school zones all the time, every year in my hometown, without sibling priority.

      • Probably too rational says:

        Foo, your points make this argument (posted in several variations on the previous thread) even stronger:

        “…if CEC is so confident in their plan, let the parents who don’t want to follow go to their newly zoned school.”

        I agree with Mr. Gorvitz. A school with a hostile, unwilling parent body will not form the basis of a thriving community. The educators at PS 452 may be wonderful, but they can not create and maintain a great school without enormous investment (both financial and physical) from the parents.

        To the CEC members, if you genuinely believe that the current 452 parent body is an unnecessary part of the equation, then let them make a choice to go or stay. It’s the only way to show your true faith in the PS 452 staff and the re-siting process.

        • Run Free says:

          Probably too rational –

          This is one of the points that I raised when I spoke at the meeting the other night. If the CEC has faith in its numbers and plan, then give 452 parents the option and make it a guaranteed option.

          I’m glad the CEC unwavering support and faith in the PS 452 administration, because many parents no longer do.

        • 22 high rises + 1/3 NYCHA = success says:

          The main problem with 452 is that demand was so low in the area that nearly half of the kids are not from its zone. With some exceptions (kids turned away from 199), these families come from less desirable schools north of 85th street.

          That means that 452 has actually worsened the school segregation problem by ciphering high economic status kids away from these northern schools.

          I feel really terrible for the families at 452 who are actually zoned for 452 and have found themselves in this situation. I would hope that many of them would be able to gain acceptance into the school to which their building is being rezoned (though likely not all would fit).

          The out-of-zone families were part of the segregation problem when they decided to go to 452. Now they should be part of the solution by going to the Amsterdam building. If that’s not tenable, then they should be allowed to go back to the zone where they really belong. That would at least help the segregation problems in the northern zones they were avoiding.

    2. Citizen says:

      Regarding Hilda’s letter – in one place it is mentioned how successful a school 452 already is. In another place, it is mentioned that the school is currently UNDER enrolled. What gives?

      • Sad 452 parent says:

        Ah, Citizen, you have caught one of the many (many!) inconsistencies of the CEC and 452 adminstration. They have made dramatic claims that the 452 is “overcrowded,” “squeezed,” “unable to accommodate its students.” The reality: 452 has been and is still under-enrolled. The school can’t fill its kindergarten classes, despite admitting a fairly large percentage of out-of-catchment students each year. That’s because it’s still a new school, with lower test scores than its neighbors (199/87/9). Until very recently, parents felt that they were taking a bit of gamble sending their child to 452 vs 199 (or 87, or a G&T). Once the school moves, there is almost no chance they continue to do so.

    3. UWS Mom says:

      As a parent with resources, I researched the BEST public schools in Manhattan – basically the ones with the highest test scores – and considered moving to ONLY those zones.

      And the reality is that after this re-zoning takes place, families like me will no longer consider 199/452 to be among the best schools in the city (I need not even mention 191). They will not move to these zones. If I were looking to move with a preschooler today, I’d be seriously considering the UES. I wouldn’t need to worry about my kids mingling with other kids from families living in housing projects where people get shot (referencing the other article on WSR today).

      David may come across as racist, but it’s the reality. The “diversity” efforts of this re-zoning exercise basically equates forced busing, which throughout history led to white flight in many US cities. Only in this case, families won’t have to flee too far, there are still great public school options a few block uptown or across Central Park.

      • Juan says:

        I agree with you 100%. We moved while our older child was in pre-school and researched the schools extensively. We are fortunate not to be impacted by these changes. I am constantly frustrated by those, particularly in the upper part of the district, who complain that they were “zoned for” mediocre schools. Most of those schools have had the same test scores for years, and that information is easy to find. If you want your child to succeed in a large public school district, you have to be pro-active about every part of their education.

        Unfortunately, there are many who are going to call you racist, classist, and only interested in your property value. I’m sure you, like me, want the best education possible for as many kids as possible, but when it comes down to it, your number 1 priority is your own child’s education, and you will do whatever is necessary to make that education as strong as possible.

        That being said, I think your statement on the housing projects is a bit extreme. I too would not be thrilled with my child going to a school adjacent to those projects where a vast majority of students were from there. But I am not pre-disposed to believing that these children are inherently bad. This is the tone you give, and I don’t think it is what you intended. I want my children to be surrounded by students who are as committed to education as we are, regardless of their color, wealth, etc.

        • Beth says:

          @Juan – Many of us have been in our neighborhoods and apartments long before we had children or even thought about having children. Once the children come along, we are already entrenched in our neighborhoods as either owners or renters. I hope you can appreciate that people can develop an attachment to their neighborhood and not everyone is a “good school” mercenary.

          The reason why I am not sympathetic to parents such as yourself is because you chose to live in an overcrowded area and are somehow surprised when the DOE wants to rezone. Parents such as yourself have created the overcrowding problem. How can packing like a bunch of sardines into a few schools in the southern part of District 3 be a good idea? You chose that situation and you should live with the consequences.

          However, many parents such as yourself instead of taking responsibility for your choice are blaming anyone and everyone else. That said, the DOE made a bad choice in starting 452 as an “overfill” school and in not addressing inequality and segregation at 191 years ago. The Bloomberg Administation also was not a friend of the public schools. In the end though you made a choice to live in what has been known for many years to be an area of overcrowded schools; you should take responsibility and deal with the consequences.

          • Juan says:

            Beth – I agree with you. When deciding where to move, we were attracted by the academic reputation of PS199, but realized that given its recent history of severe overcrowding, it would be very risky to move into that zone. Anyone who moved into the PS199 zone in the last 5+ years was taking a big chance and has little right to complain.

            We moved to a zone where we were very happy with the school, our odds of getting in were much better than at 199, and worst case, we were comfortable (though not excited) with being rezoned to a neighboring school. Obviously, our housing decision was not 100% determined by this, but it had a major impact.

            I understand that there are many families that are entrenched in their homes and do not want to move. However, I think there are a large number of families that are forced to move when they have children (need more space) so I have trouble understanding why education doesn’t factor into their decision. There are lots of tradeoffs in life, particularly when you have kids, so if education is that important to someone, they should be prepared to make tradeoffs.

            • Beth says:

              @Juan – I put 199, 87, and 452 into the “little right to complain” category.

            • Juan says:

              Beth – I am not a 452 parent but I do feel bad for them. If you moved to that zone in the last few years, you were taking a bit of a chance on a new school. It was generally under-enrolled so who would have thought they would be picking it up and moving it 15+ blocks south? So if you moved to that zone, you had a very good reason to think you would be stable at that school. 87 has had some crowding but not like at 199, so there was some risk involved there, but nothing like the inherent risk of moving to the 199 zone.

              Also, after some years of nervousness, once your child starts at a school, you should be able to rest easy knowing they will likely be able to stay there, even if there is rezoning. If your child was at 452, it was very reasonable to assume that they would stay there, even if there was rezoning – all students at 199 are staying there, even if their home has been rezoned. Current 452 students are going to have to pick up and move to another building after investing their time, energy and money into that school. Not good.

          • Concerned says:

            Some of us lived in this area quite some time before having children. If I recall correctly, the financial situation in early 2008 worsened the situation immensely. Parents who lost jobs or or whose jobs became unstable pulled their kids out of privates and the public schools became more crowded – especially at the good schools where families tended to stay. Then development in the area increased, more people stayed and moved in and the rest if history.

        • UWS Mom says:

          Juan – thank you for making that point. You are absolutely right. Color and wealth alone should not matter. I would rather my children be friends with hardworking minority kids who live in project housing instead of spoiled white rich kids who are disruptive in class.

          But I don’t get to pick the students in their classes. I can only pick the school they will attend (by moving into that zone). Given that 191 has such abysmal test scores year after year (they are truly abysmal), I am going to extrapolate that a large percentage are from families that don’t value education. And you don’t need wealth to value education (over 40% of Stuyvesant qualify for free lunch).

          Throughout history, forced desegregation (aka “diversity”) failed because, while it identifies a real problem, the remedy doesn’t work due to lack of collective participation. A realistic remedy should be a proactive effort to improve the education programs at failing schools. If the DOE replaced 191 with a Success Academy, I bet the test scores there would shoot through the roof overnight (and I’d be happy to send my children there regardless of the socio-economic background of the student body). But just rezoning buildings that families specifically moved to for the school is just going to cause those families to move again (plus new families won’t move in).

          • Beth says:

            I don’t understand how anyone gives a horrible organization like Success Academy any credibility. Test scores, as those of us who have children old enough to take the tests know, have no relation to what goes on during the school year. It’s purely political. Are you aware that Eva Moskowitz in a speech to a group of white attendees at a charter school conference said that black boys are disciplinary issues? Are you aware that they actively push out children they don’t want to teach for whatever reason? Are you aware that Success Academy actively litigates in order to avoid accountability and transparency with the recent upk row as a example? Are you aware that Success Academy purposely hires young, inexperienced people as teachers to keep their costs low? Success Academy makes the DOE look benevolent, and that’s saying a lot.

            • UWS Mom says:

              I look at the state test results for NYC schools (including charter schools) and I see something amazing.

              http://schools.nyc.gov/Accountability/data/TestResults/ELAandMathTestResults

              Success Academy schools located in the Harlem, Bed-Stuy and even the Bronx have some of the highest passing rates in the city! PS 191 is among the lowest. Sure, does Success Academy kick out kids who have disciplinary issue? Maybe those kids should be kicked out – they are ruining the learning environment for the other kids. Sure, they hire young inexperienced teachers – I don’t think unionized DOE teachers who are never held accountable are necessarily better at teaching.

              While my kids are not enrolled there, I think Success Academy and charter schools in general, even with their flaws, are a great thing for the city. It is providing kids who are zoned for failing schools due to DOE incompetence a chance to actually get a good education. There is no wonder why the northern D3 schools have like 30% enrollment, because families prefer to send their kids to the charter schools there.

      • 22 high rises plus 1/3 NYCHA = success says:

        I really emphasize with the situation for 452 parents. The distance sounds really tough. However, integrating within the southern portion of our district should not be.

        There are only little more than 30 kids from NYCHA entering 191 per year. This would be split across 3 schools. There would also be grandfathering, so at first it would be far less than 10 kids per grade at 452. We are talking a small percentage here.

    4. jeff Berger says:

      Question for Hilda: You state that it is “demonstrably” proven that students do better in “diverse” schools. Can you site a study that shows this? How are you defining diversity?

      • manhattan mark says:

        Jeff Berger, I cannot give you study of the situation that parents ore facing today. I can give you a life long experience of diversity in the NYC public school system, all
        on the Upper Westside; PS 54,JHS 165, JHS 54, Commerce HS,
        where there were no ethnic or racial or religious problems.however, when I started college at NYU I was surprised that the students from the outer boroughs had difficulty making friends with classmates from a group other
        than it’s own. I am so grateful to have gone thru the NYC
        public school system, it helped me in all aspects of my life.

      • Hilda Blair says:

        Hi Jeff. Many of us have done a lot of reading on this topic. I think most people would define diversity in today’s world in both socioeconomic and racial terms. There is one article that’s interesting from February of this year. It was from the Century Foundation titled “How Racially Diverse Schools and Classrooms Can Benefit All Students” by Amy Stuart Wells, Lauren Fox, and Diane Cordova-Cobo. I think if you do a bit of digging you will find more. Best, Hilda

    5. Gina says:

      Do you mean 9th Ave ?
      Please someone correct me,
      thought Amsterdam Starts at
      72nd St. I was born in Manhattan
      have I been misinformed?

      • Google Maps says:

        Gina, Amsterdam is 10th Avenue below 59th or 60th Street.

      • Cato says:

        Amsterdam Avenue starts at 59th Street. Below 59th Street it is 10th Avenue.

      • manhattan mark says:

        Gina, Amsterdam is 10th ave. Columbus is 9th Ave. and
        CPW is 8th Ave, WEA is 11th Ave. The names change at:
        72nd st.(10th), 65th st.(9th), 59th st.(8th North) 59th st. WEA
        South).

    6. Pigeon says:

      David,

      A relocated 452 would thrive even without the current 452’s student population, but only if the DOE sets things up right.

      You are correct when you say the DOE has not seriously tried to convince us that their proposal will create a good school. Hopefully we will be presented with information that gives us faith in the new rezoning.

      • Anon says:

        Pigeon – You’ve been to a number of these meetings I presume….do you have any faith that we will be given any information?

        Call me as skeptic, but we’ve gone from the DOE presentations that give no details or information, to the DOE reps that seemingly have no (or incomplete) answers to questions repeatedly asked to a CEC that has hijacked the process and proposed a plan that was clearly the work of a few members.

        I hope I am wrong, but this all seems destined for failure.

      • No Faith anymore says:

        Pigeon – Here’s one problem. I’m not convinced the DOE thinks the right thing to do is move 452. They had the opportunity to do so when they came out with plan “C” and the chose to keep 452 in its place.

        I think the DOE believes the southern part of the district needs the additional elementary sections that opening a new school at the old PS 191 would provide. I think they will ultimately do what the CEC wants (which is a bit backward) because it will pass the CEC vote (also a bit backwards). With that in mind, will the DOE throw all of its resources behind something that they weren’t convinced was the appropriate thing to do. Who knows?

        • Pigeon says:

          Is the DOE even aware that, if they want the rezoning to be successful, they must convince the people to have confidence in it?

          Or does the DOE simply have a “we are in charge and you will do as we say” attitude?

    7. CS says:

      Has anyone ever researched the incidents that took place at PS191 over the years? They are mind-blowing. Someone posted them here before. Something like almost one violent incident per day. Weapons, assaults, even sexual assaults if my memory serves. Very disturbing stuff. And this is an elementary school!

      Here is the answer: take the children of PS191 and move them into other schools. PROBLEM GONE, right DOE? No need to address the troublemakers and deal with them.

      Here is another answer: bring well-behaving kids from other schools into PS191. That way, the statistics related to danger go down and all it takes is a few sacrificial students to make the magic. No need to address the trouble makers and deal with them.

      The other answer actually involves the DOE doing its job and making PS191 a safe place. PS191 already has some of the best teachers in the district and certainly one of the best principals. How about throwing a few kids out of school for good and seeing how the statistics improve?

      Nobody wants to get rid of the kids who are causing trouble, THAT is the problem.

      • 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

        One possible reason: the somewhat threatening “guidance” letter that the Obama Administration’s DOJ sent to public school administrators in 2014 regarding racial disparities in school discipline. Teachers and administrators might be reluctant to discipline students who are members of racial minorities for fear of having their reputation and career destroyed.

        Regarding expulsion, the letter states that “… data also show that an increasing number of students are losing important instructional time due to exclusionary discipline. The increasing use of disciplinary sanctions such as in-school and out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, or referrals to law enforcement authorities creates the potential for significant, negative educational and long-term outcomes…”

        See http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201401-title-vi.html for more information.

        I personally feel that any student who repeatedly commits violence at school should be expelled. This is necessary for the students who want to learn.

    8. Anonymous says:

      It seems to me that there is a lot of NIMBYism (Not In My Backyard) going on. Indeed, I’m unclear how re-siting a successful school with the same administration, teachers and student body, except for 1/3 of the Amsterdam Houses (up to 15 kids), will cause the school to go down hill. And it is not just 4523 that is moving. Everyone south of 70th St and from the east side of Amsterdam to CPW will be zoned to the re-sited 452. Thus, the re-sited 452 will be dominated by 452 kids and 199 kindergartners. As such, the biggest complaint i am hearing is that no one wants to travel the additional distance to the new school notwithstanding the benefits accorded to the move. While i understand the inconvenience, if the quality of education is not going to suffer and potential improve given that the same teachers and administration are going to be at the school, I am unclear how a de minimus percentage of minority students is going to upset the what is otherwise a top notch school. Indeed, its more than likely that the minority students will rise to the occasion and benefit from the change as will our kids. After all, we are speaking about kids that are not older than 10-11 years. How “violent” can they be? I see bigotry by the opponents. And the opponents need to understand and accept the fact that our City and the world we live in is a melting pot. Thus, they are going to have to learn to relate with all different kinds of people whether its white, black, brown, yellow, jewish, gentile or muslim because 20 years from now when they are adults in their first jobs, these are the kinds of people they will be working with. I believe that the younger my two kids learn to assimilate with different kinds of people the better. That is why my wife and i refuse to send our kids to private school. We have the money. But our kids are not going to add to the entitlement-minded, iPad brat population that exists in this City from the private school sector.

      • anon says:

        Amen!!

      • Anon1 says:

        Anonymous – you say that “it is not just 452 that is moving.” What other currently enrolled students are being asked to pick up and move locations?

        • Concerned says:

          Exactly. Would anyone else put up with their children being forced to SWITCH schools? I was rezoned for 452 (from 199) when my child was entering K. That was an entirely different scenario. Now my younger child is being forced to go to a new school mid-way through his elementary education. NOT AT ALL THE SAME THING.

    9. NewUWSDad says:

      David, your argument that 452 will fail if current 452 families don’t follow it to its new location assumes that it is simply the presence of socio-economically disadvantaged children in a school that make said school fail. Is that what happened at 191? The leadership, faculty and administration bear no responsibility for it’s performance? If the faculty and administration at 452 is good now, won’t they still be good in a different building with a different student body?

      • Soon to be former 452 parent says:

        New UWSdad, here is why PS 452 will falter if parents refuse to commute to 61st st. NYC schools are PER STUDENT funded. The cost of the 452 staff is fixed, but the budget rises or falls each year depending on how many students are enrolled.

        PS 452 is a small school; a major loss of student population would be devastating. Add in the loss of almost all PTA funding (if most parents are looking to get out, they aren’t going to write big checks), and you have a pretty tough situation.

        If the parents in its new zone bring a renewed enthusiasm and contributions to the school, 452 might regain its footing eventually. But given the bitterness of this battle, that will take years. In the meantime, I am seeking a more stable environment for my child.

        Maybe diehard PS 452 fans like Hilda intend to stick it out no matter what, so that’s fine if it works for her. Not for me.

        • NewUWSDad says:

          Fair enough. I understand that involved and enthusiastic parents contribute time and resources to make a school great and keep it great. That makes sense. And I totally understand why 452 families would resent being forced to move (i would advocate for the DOE to implement a new plan for 2018 instead in order for all UWS residents to better prepare for a new zoning/siting landscape), but I guess my question is won’t other/new families now zoned for a 452 that resides in the old 191 want to send their kids there and be involved there? Isn’t the idea of having your kids educated by the much applauded teachers and faculty of 452 a draw?

          • Anon says:

            UWS dad, Families in that area with kids older than K are already enrolled at 199 (if they are in public school). Let’s say I have a second grader at 452, who has 27 other children in her class. If half of them don’t come to 61st street, who takes those spots? No one will transfer from 199, that’s for sure.

            • NewUWSDad says:

              Got it. Didn’t think about that. What a mess. While I don’t think that that distance to travel for excellent teachers and staff is too much to overcome, I do think it’s very unfair of the DOE to deny 452 parents the time or clear options to make a considered choice for themselves.

        • Anonymous says:

          I doubt that many 452 parents have $45K per year per child in after tax dollars to send their kids to private school. To that end, these parents live in the City for more or less the same reasons I do. I doubt they will uproot their lives to the suburbs because their kids’ school is 16 blocks away from where it is now. Let’s be realistic.

        • Won't go to a re-sited PS452 says:

          Soon to be former PS452 parent.. that makes two of us. I will not go to the new school if it gets re-sted. I might have done so if it had gone down differently. If the parents had been involved in the decision and we would have had input from the get go… the parents have put so much work into the school and for it to be “sold” without even considering if parents would want it or not is insulting. If parents are not a valued part of the PS452 community then I do not want to be part of a re-sited PS452.
          Not to mention that keeping PS 452 where it is will create the 300+ more elementary seats for the district so if you really want to alleviate overcrowding a re-site doesn’t work.
          I have been at PS452 for 4 years now and before I never heard the challenges of co-locating. I am sure it was a challenge and something they had to deal with but they never mentioned it. They should have. Now every conversation begins with well because we share space.. it gets blamed for everything.

          • Anonymous says:

            So “won’t go to re-sited 452”, since you say you won’t go to the re-sited school, are you one of those wealthy people who is going to pay $45k+ in after tax dollars or are you moving to the suburbs because you don’t want to travel the 16 blocks needed to go to the same school? You fail to mention your choice in your response. Please advise as I’m confident everyone reading your entry wants to know.

            • Won't go to a re-sited PS452 says:

              We thought we might leave the city for Middle School. Sadly, this may have put a jump start on that or I will work my tail off to get my kids into another school. The DOE has cheated us twice from the school we thought we would be sending our kids. First from 87 when we got rezoned 7 yrs ago and now from PS452 at 77th.
              We do not have 45K but why do you make it sound as it is a bad thing. For those people who do have it.. good for them. They have more options.

      • johnb says:

        The successful public schools rely on the PTA to invest incredible amouts of time and money. So yes, if the current, involved parents at 452 do not move with the school, it will be a different school regardless of the faculty and students. If you don’t have a child in one of these schools, you probably don’t realize that the PTA pays for assistant teachers, non-classroom teachers, supplies, etc. It is a big factor in the inequalities between NYC public schools

      • doublestanard says:

        on what basis is david making any claims when he is sending his child to a G & T program in the 90s which is near public housing???? why is he not coming forward to say that his child got into a G & T program and hence they moved the child? I don’t get the logic to bus a child to a school in the 90s but not go 16 blocks south?
        #doublestandard
        #fullofshit

    10. HB says:

      How come no one considers moving the Anderson school to 191? Anderson school is a great G&T school that people will send their kids no matter where the location is. G&Ts usually grow in under privileged neighborhoods and there is no reason why the Anderson school should be in the ultra posh part of the UWS. My kindergartener did not make the 99 percentile to be eligible to enter the lottery this year, but will test her again next year. If the school ends up moving to PS191 or other not so great areas next year, I would still send my child to the Anderson school and I’m sure most parents will.

      • A parent says:

        HB, I’m an Anderson parent. I agree that of they moved Anderson to the 191 building there would be some grumbling and then 100% of the families would attend the school on 61st St. A little history, 7 years ago when Anderson moved into the 77th St location the building housed 2 failing middle schools. That co-location strategy was far from ideal. The Anderson parents spent many hours the summer before the move cleaning, painting, installing cabinets. The library was an “extra” room discovered behind a wall. They got the funds for the jungle gym and to paint a track in the schoolyard. Your idea of g&t programs improving less desirable schools is exactly what happened. I mention all of this to point out that Anderson has not been coddled the way some posters seem to think.

        As to why Anderson isn’t being moved now my understanding is that the PS 452 principal came up with this idea.

        I don’t see this proposal as negative or positive for Anderson. The 452 space will not sit empty. Whatever school this students who use it attend nd(Anderson, Computer or a different school) these kids will need time in the cafeteria, auditorium,and gym. It isn’t negative for Anderson because it will be the same number of kids sharing space that we have today. It also won’t be positive.

      • 22 high rises plus 1/3 NYCHA = success says:

        Anderson, with 550 kids, is too large to move to most facilities. If it were to move to 191’s current building, it would take up despirately needed seats in the southern area of the district. The overcrowding is going to get even worse when Riverside Center is completed.

        The Amsterdam facility is designed to hold 650 or 700 kids. There would not even be room for another school to squeeze in there.

    11. anon says:

      David, years ago we too “moved to where we live specifically for the school.” 199 in our case. Now we’re being re-zoned to the M342 building. I respect your views and know firsthand that every parent wants what’s best for their own child, but please put yourself in my and my neighbors’ shoes for a moment and re-read your last paragraph advocating Scenario A or Scenario C as “something more incremental.” Then consider the relative impact of what you’re saying (i.e., the impact on current 452 families vs. the impact on thousands of re-zoned students who will be affected for many years after current 452 children graduate).

      The commute is not that bad. And by the way, I live closer to 199, 87 and 452 than I do to the M342 building.

      • Christine E says:

        We live closer to 166 and have been zoned there for decades. There are grandparents in our building who went to 166! 9 is the 2nd closest school. We are being rezoned to 84, which is the 3rd nearest school and which has a majority of students failing the state tests. Not to mention that the blocks rezoned from 166 and 9 to 84 have at least 200 low income minority housing units. Yes I did the math. 166 and 9 are majority white and less than 25% free lunch and passing with flying colors. 84 is majority non-white and free lunch and failing state tests. You cannot tell me that DOE is pursuing diversity or even less crowding. They are taking poor minority students out of good schools and moving them to worse schools while having to pass by 1-2 good schools to get to worse one! While letting the wealthy out-of-catchment G&T kids at 166 take up half the classroom space and not finding a solution for the middle school co-located at 9. It is absolutely ridiculous.

        • Anon says:

          @ Christine, the G&T program at PS 166 is untouchable, because the head of the CEC zoning committee send her child there, after pulling her from PS 191.

          • Christine E says:

            Well that’s disturbing that the CEC pres personal needs can push out low income zoned kids. Anyway there are 2 g&t per grade now at 166. If they cut back to 1 (move elsewhere), they can increase the zoned seats by up to 50%. Or do a phase out by grade (as 9 did a few years back) which over time will double the zoned available seats. Double, people! Even the CEC prep should be happy with a gradual phase out, since the present child still can finish the program.

      • David Gorvitz says:

        @anon (#11). When I wrote that last paragraph, I was afraid it wasn’t going to come across right. I certainly do not mean to advocate for Scenarios A or C, which, as they stand now, are also terribly unfair to the 199 zone. But one almost immutable feature of zoning is that it is prospective. It’s like a part of the mob honor code. No matter how awful the zoning change, at least it hits just the parents but not necessarily the kids. The parents have time to adjust, if necessary, and do not need to pull kids out of their existing school or see their education worsen before their eyes. The 452 re-site is “less equal than others,” to paraphrase George Orwell, because it breaks that code. I could see Scenario C, which is prospective, at least possibly serving as a starting point for a discussion. Perhaps zone lines could be adjusted to keep all of Lincoln Towers, etc., in 199 right now. And perhaps the “new” 191 could be restored to actual magnet status and undergo other changes that will eventually make it more attractive to parents from other neighborhoods, focusing, first, on actual, *measurable* improvements to safety, discipline, and absenteeism (and if any have already been made, they should be highlighted and publicized but in some measurable way). As the school improves, further incremental changes (including possibly further zone line changes) could be considered. I do not see the 452 re-site plan, which makes children physically move to a different school that is sure to be worse, as redeemable.

    12. Anon says:

      There is an underlying problem in all of this. Traditionally and historically (use whatever terms you want), rezoning initiatives impact FUTURE students that will become a part of the public school system.

      This rezoning plan has a direct impact on CURRENT public school students (the PS 452 students). Let’s be real for a moment, you cannot separate the proposed relocation of PS 452 from the district rezoning efforts. At least according to the CEC, they go hand-in-hand.

      I think the PS 452 parents have every reason to be upset, dismayed and angry and, quite frankly, it doesn’t matter what their reasons for not wanting to move are. They are being asked to take on something that no other family in this rezoning battle are being asked to and have ever been asked to in a rezoning (I can’t find any precedent for this).

      Long term, perhaps moving PS 452 will be the right call. Only time will tell.

      But what do you do now? I think, as many other posters have suggested, you give the PS 452 families a choice. Allow them to choose between PS 452 or their newly zoned school. Yes, it may put some stress on those schools, but it will only be a temporary stress on the system (current 452 students will matriculate out in 5 years). If the DOE and CEC have confidence in their plan and the numbers, then this seems like a no-brainer to me.

      • 452 parent says:

        This is the answer.

        By all indications, 452 families who don’t want to move will find a way not to do so anyway.

        But by offering a choice, you erase the bitterness, and give 452 a fresh start in its new home.

    13. 452 parent says:

      Hilda will you tell me what a “significant portion of the 452 families” mean? In June the pro move parents posted a letter in one of these online sites and it had 50 signatures (several of those were husband and wife). At all the public speaking meetings anti move comments outnumbered pro move comments by 60%. I kept tally at several meetings and the anti move comments were between 70-80% (not counting the teachers). I am only referring to the families.
      Can I also mention that a large portion of the pro move parents live out of zone and their kids come to school on a bus so what difference is it to those families if the bus has to go another 16 blocks south.

      • Another 452 parent says:

        It should also be noted that many of the families who wrote the letter supporting the school in the spring had either 4th or 5th grade students (meaning they graduated this past June, or will graduate in June 2017, before the school moves). It’s very nice that they are supportive, but does nothing to increase my faith in the success of a move.

      • Pigeon says:

        Dear 452 parent,

        Your question is a good one, though keeping count of people who voice their view at the meetings is not an accurate way to track the general sentiment.

        Perhaps its a vocal minority versus the silent majority?

        Why haven’t the 452 parents been polled? And even if they are polled, would that sway the DOE and CEC? Should that sway them?

      • Jane says:

        opposed parents have made it impossible for parents who are in favor of the move, show their support. It’s
        Not worth it. The people who speak the loudest don’t always win…..
        Staff and Admin are in favor. Superintendent is in favor. CEC is in favor…. Looks like the support is there.

        • Anon says:

          Jane – that is patently false

          • Anon says:

            Thus proving Jane’s point…

            • michael says:

              Its not that they don’t speak out its that the support to move the school from 452 parents is minimal. I put it at 90% against and 10% for the move. I am completely neutral and in all honesty it is because my son has one year left. Yes self serving because I would totally be out in the public speaking out against it if he had more then one year left. Also interestingly enough I would say support goes down to 1%-3% against if you take out the parents who will actually have children in the school next year or currently live outside the zone. Many of my son’s classmates parents have definitely supported this move to get in with the current administration for upcoming recommendation letters. We are moving to the burbs after he graduates so I dont need to kiss up thankfully.

            • 452 parent says:

              Same situation here. I feel that moving 452 is very wrong, but I can’t risk jeopardizing my child’s middle school placement. I feel guilty letting the younger grade parents fight this fight, and I have signed the anonymous petition, but I would feel guiltier if I hurt my child’s chances at getting into a good middle school.

        • 452 dad says:

          Why have opposed parents made it impossible to state support? I keep hearing this but don’t know why.
          I know a couple people who support the move and I like them, I like their kids – we just have a different opinion.
          I don’t know anyone anti-move who has said can you believe it.. “they are pro-move, I am cutting my friendship.” Of course new friendships have been formed on either side of the issue but I do not know of one friendship that has been destroyed because of this.
          On the contrary, I have felt vilified by the pro-move crowd. Always telling us to be respectful and kind. When were we not? As I recall, most anti-move people start their two minutes praising the staff.

        • Anon1 says:

          Jane – A portion of your comments is simply not true. I am a 452 parent and am neutral on the move (I think it will be better for my child to have his own building, but the extra commute will be a hassle (and don’t let pick tell you it won’t)). I have very good friends on both the pro and anti-move sides. To say that the opposition has made it impossible for the minority (and it is a minority) of parents to speak out in favor of the move is just not true. People on this board are making it sound like the opposition is using intimidation tactics to keep supporters from speaking. This is just not the case.

          I do agree with you that the principal and faculty support the move. I think the principal’s tactics leave a lot to be desired, but he clearly favors the move. I don’t know how the superintendent feels. I have been to all of the meetings and she has never voiced an opinion (maybe you know something we don’t). As for the CEC, I have no idea how they feel. Based on Wednesday’s meeting, it is clear to me that some faction of that council came up with the plan, not everyone.

      • Hilda Blair says:

        Thanks for your comment. I cannot give you an exact number of supportive families. I can tell you that because of the tone of the discussion there are many parents who are supportive, but feel concerned about the backlash if they speak at meetings. I won’t say whether I agree or not with that fear, but as we all know some people have really strong feelings on both sides. Not everyone supportive is comfortable speaking out publically which is why there were not more signatures on the letter you reference. You might say that’s a convenient argument, but it’s true. These same people, however have been reaching out to the relevant decision makers and thereby making themselves heard. Best, Hilda

        • Anon says:

          Hilda, this is a relief to hear. A few voices on this board almost seem to be rooting for a re-sited 452 to fail, seemingly for spite.

        • Anon says:

          Actually Hilda, I know many families who are NOT supportive of the move, but afraid to speak out because they fear backlash from the teachers and principal. Count me among those. You won’t find me screaming at meetings, but you will find me looking at apartment listings in other school zones. From the families I know at the school (and I know many), we actually represent the majority view.

        • Lisayoga12 says:

          Funny I feel quite the opposite. While I wholeheartedly agree that we should keep 452 on 77th street I have refrained from speaking out on this topic in fear of retribution from my childs teachers and the administration. It is so awkward to go to these meetings since the faculty is attending the meetings in favor of moving the school. Then I have to go talk to them at school like nothing is going on. Also from the comments of the one teacher calling all the parents racist I could only imagine what they all think of the parents. I know many other moms who I have spoken to who have held back from speaking out against the move. What a shame because I think it is literally a handful of parents who want to move the school.

    14. 452's home is on 77th St says:

      @ Hilda, you say that there are “numerous current families that support moving PS 452” and that those that are against the move are “a subset of current PS452 families”. That is just false. The “pro move” families had a letter with 50 signatures, the “anti move” letter had in excess of 1,000 signatures. Moreover, of the 50 signatures on the “pro move” letter, many were from the same family. The reality is that no more than 25 families support the move, and of those families I doubt more than 10 are in zone with children who are currently enrolled in grades 4 or below.

      • Hilda Blair says:

        To “Anon” and “452’s Home is on 77th St” – I’m sorry you both feel that you need to look for a new place to live. Your information about how many families support the move is not accurate, but I don’t think anything anyone says on that score will satisfy you or anyone else. The school will succeed in a new location. I firmly believe that. Also, I can’t imagine that there would be backlash from the administration or teachers if anyone opposing the move made their voices heard. These are amazing professionals who care about our children. I wish you luck as you look for a new home and school for your children. I will say generally it’s too bad people aren’t comfortable enough with their point of view to sign their “real” name and choose to comment anonymously. Best of luck.
        Best,
        Hilda

        • Anon says:

          Hilda – you do know that one faculty member is quoted in the NY Post essentially calling the families that don’t want to move “racist”. While that may not be vindictive it certainly creates a feeling of hostility toward these families. I think I agree with you that keeping score no longer matters. The DOE needs to find new homes for the families that don’t want to move since many have lost faith in the administration and faculty.

          • jonathanjac says:

            That is horrible. I know many of the parents at 452 and I can surely say they are not racist. The principal at this school has really let this whole situation go to crap.

            • Anon says:

              jonathanjac – to make matters worse, the principal has not even addressed the fact that this quote is out there in the press. Not an I’m sorry, not it is not representative of the school. His silence is deafening.

        • Anon says:

          A member of the PS 452 staff anonymously slandered parents in the press. Must be a real bunch of professionals!

          nypost.com/2016/10/16/parents-upset-over-racially-charged-rezoning-proposal-to-move-school/

          • robbinghood says:

            Its really terrible what has happened to the once strong 452 community. I know many parents who refuse to come out and say they are against the move because many of the teachers and administration including the principal attend the CEC meetings. I would think if the principal really cared about keeping this community in tact regardless of the decision he would ask the teachers to not come to meetings. In my opinion its much harder to come out and speak against the move for parents because their childs teacher is sitting in the crowd then it would be to support the move because another parent is in the crowd against it. Has the principal held “town hall” style meetings with the parents?

        • Anon says:

          I am curious whether Hilda and the other pro-move families at 452 like the idea of giving parents a choice between a guaranteed seat at 87/199 or commuting to 61st street for 452.

          That would seem to be the best of both worlds for everyone – Hilda et al get the space they want without having to fight bitter parents, and the parents who want to stay close to home (or whatever their motivation is for not commuting), can do that.

          The two 452 sides should get together and rally for this solution! The empty space at O’Shea can be temporarily used to accommodate the additional kids at 87 (which would only be for a few years). That would also give the DOE time to figure out what they actually want to do with the space (they certainly don’t seem to have any concrete plans at the moment). It’s not ideal, but hey, everyone is sharing the pain here.

    15. Families Matters says:

      No matter what side of the rezoning decision one has, no one from the Dept of Education nor the local electorate has discussed how they will improve a failing school other than by addressing its diversity. It does a disservice to the children attending PS191 by not addressing how the school is operated and if there needs to be improvement in other areas. In other words the current thinking of the powers that be levels all issues as only the parents fault.

      • Pigeon says:

        The DOE seems to be in denial regarding 191’s problems.

        • Christine E says:

          And in denial regarding PS 84 and every school in the 90s and north.

        • Christine E says:

          Any school with failing grades and low test scores should get less students, not more. Clearly the limits of the staff are already overstretched.

          • 22 high rises plus 1/3 NYCHA = success says:

            Some of the arguments against 191’s staff and students sound a lot like the “separate but equal” ones made in the 50’s. The argument goes that even if schools are separate (segregated) they should be able to be equal (to the rich, White ones). Martin Luther King used to say it was like telling people who haven’t any shoes to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

            I appreciate that some people are saying that more fundamental changes should be made on behalf of the kids. However, I think we should be clear about what the root problem here is. The problem here is the segregation that ensues when hundreds of families in a large zone simultaneously avoid a school.

            The legalized segregation that was based on this “separate but equal” doctrine was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Brown vs the Board of Education (1954).

            The segregation in our neighborhood is defacto (as opposed to legalized), but the effects are just as harmful. Our City Council took Brown vs the Board of Ed. one step forward and passed the School Diversity and Accountability Act, which states that the DOE should actively zone for diversity.
            http://bradlander.nyc/news/updates/city-council-passes-school-diversity-accountability-act

            It’s really sad because the 191 zone could have easily have had 150 kids per grade (like 199 does) if the local families had supported the public system. With little more than 30 kids a grade from NYCHA, the school would have only been 20% low income – similar to P.S. 9 (which is 19% low income). However, too few families have been willing to be “pioneers”. What is needed in these situations is a “critical mass” shift so that everyone is making the leap together. This is exactly what is happening on two fronts.

            – First, we have 8 luxury high rises being rezoned from 199 to 191 at once.

            – Second, we have 2/3 of the NYCHA kids being zoned out of 191 (save grandfathering).
            In the end, each of these schools should have about a dozen low-income children per grade. That is not much considering that the CEC projects that 191 will eventually need to hold 150 kids per grade. That is only 9 percent low income. P.S. 191 is 7% low income.

            Unfortunately, many of these negative comments about 191 are not only inaccurate and overblown, but they are hindering people from seeing past yesterday’s situation to learn more about the amazing possibility / reality we have before us.

            We’ve all seen the movie Westside Story, set in the late 50s/early 60s, which was filmed in our neighborhood. In fact, if you see the helicopter camera pan in the opening scene, you can see that the playground was at the exact location where 199 would be erected only a few years later.

            Let’s at once and for all end that gang (them vs us) mentality. Our Westside Story can and will be rewritten. We can build the critical mass that we need now – in a gorgeous school erected for everyone.

    16. why would you give up 300 elementary school seats in the most overcrowded district in the city says:

      the DOE has stated that if PS 452 isn’t re-sited, they will open a new school at the current PS 191 location. There will still be a new school. What purpose does moving PS 452 serve? Why should the most overcrowded district give up an elementary school with 300 seats. District 3 needs as much space as possible, closing a school would be irresponsible and assure us over overcrowding. The only reason the CEC wants to move 452 is that they think people will be more apt to attend the school at PS 191 and it will prevent overcrowding at PS 199. the selfish interests of PS 199 and the CEC leader can’t outweigh the hundreds of parents tha will be negatively affected by losing their community school of PS 452.

    17. angeline says:

      What hasn’t happened yet (I think) and should ASAP:

      The DOE needs to look at the numbers of kids who will be zoned to 199 or 87 (who now go to 452) and match that with the number of available spaces at those schools. The DOE then needs to see if it can cap K classes to 5 or less at those schools so they can accommodate more sections in the intermediate grades due to anticipated demand by current 452 students. It is cowardly to hide behind the statement that 452 students who are now rezoned for 199/87 will be admitted as space permits. Space can permit, just depends on what the incoming K sections look like.

      • Christine E says:

        There are plenty of empty seats in the upper grade G&t classes at 166, thanks to attrition and DOE policy of not placing kids into G&t after grade 3. This is what really burns me. There are enough seats if only there was rational resource allocation. It needs to come from above. 166 will not give it up since they would lose parent funding and test scores will fall.

      • kyleolsyn says:

        Its the DOE of course they haven’t run the numbers on how many families will not go to the new 452 but rather try and get in to 87, 199, or 9. I already know of multiple families who after the last meeting bombarded the admissions people at these schools to find out what the process would entail. The DOE has really allowed the CEC to hijack this process. It was funny to see the two woman from the DOE (sara) who are responsible for planning actually sitting in the crowd during the last meeting and not up at the table. Very symbolic of what has happened. I can’t wait for the Post or Daily News to blast the incompetent DOE.

    18. Christine E says:

      I would be worried about the dangers of kids having to cross the treacherous bowtie intersection of 70/71/Broadway/Amsterdam. Zoning should keep safe crossings in mind. Personally I would hesitate to move 452 for that reason alone. (I have no child at 452, just value human life.)

      • Concerned says:

        Don’t forget 72nd and WEA. Actually, come to think of it, 66th and WEA is a dangerous one too.

    19. pmw says:

      Have any of you people really researched the crime at this school? Read the dna-info article from 8/13/15. Here’s a quote “The number of sex offenses without weapons, arson with weapons, assault with physical injury with weapons, and assault with physical injury without weapons all increased.” They increased from the previous here. That’s all you need to know. As far as the comment about 10-11 year olds and “How dangerous can they be?” You are obviously an upper class UWS white person who has no clue about reality. There are beatings, robberies, and sexual assaults at this school. Crimes occur here regularly. Wake up.

      • UWS Mom says:

        191 is also a K-8 school. So it’s not just 10/11 year olds, there are 13/14 year olds there in the same school. It’s really scary. And the kids currently enrolled will remain there – they are not affected by re-zoning. I’ve spoken to many families being rezoned to 191 and none of them plan to send their kids there especially since the DOE/CEC has done absolutely nothing to calm their concerns about violence and abysmal test scores there. NOTHING, except to actually deny that the problem exists when all the data says otherwise.